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01 August 2016

Nationwide study finds that frequency of accompanying disease is high in children with epilepsy


The overall frequency of accompanying disorders, otherwise known as comorbid disease, has been found to be high in children with epilepsy, according to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study, designed by Dr Kari Modalsli Aaberg, MD, was based on the fact that children with epilepsy are at increased risk of other disorders, but that few historical studies into the subject have been  comprehensive and population-based.

Nationwide data

Scientists used nationwide registry data to describe frequencies of medical, neurological, developmental and psychiatric conditions that occur in children diagnosed with childhood epilepsy.

The study used data from the Norwegian Patient Registry, that records diagnoses from all government-funded specialist health services in Norway, including outpatient consultations and hospitalisations.

The study

Researchers analysed data from the years 2008 to 2013 for all children born in Norway between 1996 and 2013.  They compared children with complicated epilepsies (with additional disorders) with children with uncomplicated epilepsies. Children with epilepsy were also compared with the general child population, adjusting for age and sex.

Epilepsy and accompanying disorders

Of the 1,125,161 strong study population, 0.6 per cent of the children had epilepsy.  Of these, nearly 80 per cent had one or more than one accompanying disorder.  All types of disorders were more frequent in children with epilepsy, and children with complicated epilepsies were found to have the highest overall levels of comorbidity.  The study found that among children with uncomplicated epilepsies, the risk of medical and psychiatric comorbidities was also substantial.


The study concludes: "The overall frequency of comorbid disease is high in children with epilepsy, including children with presumably uncomplicated epilepsies."

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